My struggles with grammar
|Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash|
For those of you who believed I was going to be writing about Jane Austen this time, I can only apologise. Yes, I am coming to the end of my six weeks ‘Writing with Austen’ course, which is proving to be most delightful. Why did I wait so long before reading Pride and Prejudice!
This time though, I’m going to get a little personal, and bare my writer’s soul, or brain. You can decide which one at the end.
I struggle with the art of grammar–and punctuation, but I’ll save that for another time. Two things prompted this post. Nicki Copeland’s excellent grammar tips, and the fact I am taking a ‘Grammar for writers’ course.
What I’m shocked about is how much I didn’t know! I remember learning that nouns are naming words, verbs are action words and adjectives are delightfully descriptive ones, but how did all this ‘every sentence has an object and subject’ pass me by? And then there are the ‘to be’ verbs. Am, are, is, was, were, be, being and been. How have I got to the age of 47 without knowing about them? I always believed ‘To be or not to be’ was just a quote from Hamlet.
And that’s just the simple stuff! I’ve got Prepositional Phrases, Participles and Gerunds and Infinitives to look forward too!
One thing that has stuck in my mind is this basic concept about a sentence. ‘Who did what to whom’ The bear slept for example. What frustrates me the most, is that I know the ideas are up there, and my imagination has no problem with coming up with the goods, but it's the getting them down on paper and trying not to look foolish, which is the most annoying part.
I genuinely envy those who have no problem with grammar at all. I hope a certain person, who left this comment on Nicki’s post, ‘I get very annoyed with people's grammar and spelling mistakes!’ will try and hold back if they ever spot any errors in my writing.
There is hope though. The dreaded words ‘been vs being’ were the bane of my life for a long time, until a colleague kindly explained to me, with helpful examples, that ‘been was used in the past tense and being in the present.’
I’ve realised that I’ve got to this point without mentioning that I’m dyslexic, so that may have a large amount to do with this thorn in my side, I don’t know.
I use grammarly for my work emails, though interestingly, it sometimes suggests things that my colleagues, who proofread some of my work, don’t agree with or didn’t suggest. I don’t know whether to go for the grammarly paid option or the ProWritingAid one, though they seem pretty similar, and I’ve just discovered eleven more options!
I know there are quite a few teachers in the ACW community, so if you have any advice or recommendations then I’d be delighted to hear them.
Until next time, may your words flow, your imagination sizzle and your use of grammar be absolutely gorgeous!
Martin is a writer, baker, photographer and storyteller. He's been published in the ACW Christmas anthology and Lent devotional. He's currently honing his craft at flash fiction and you can find him on Twitter here.